"'Tis some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door -
Only this, and nothing more."
Just like the narrator in Edgar Allen Poe's "The Raven," I and perhaps some of the Patriots, underestimated that little birdie pecking outside the window.
Perhaps one of the worst quarters of football in Patriots history. And blue-hats out there can attest that this is quite a powerful statement. But how much worse can you get than the 1st quarter of this game? Two interceptions, allowing an 83 yard run, and amassing only 20 yards of offense.
You know what, I hate sportsisms like the one I'm about to roll out, but the Patriots simply didn't want it. Whether it was overconfidence, or Baltimore's preparedness compared to the Pats', or total effort, or teamwork, whatever. I blame the coach, I blame the players.
All season long, there was no killer instinct on this team. When they got leads, they eased up on offense, played back on defense. They let the Colts slip away. And the Jets. And the Broncos. And the Texans. And the Dolphins. There was nothing stopping them from being a 14-2 or even 15-1 team except their own severe disinterest in victory.
It's pathetic. Absolutely pathetic. That a Bill Belichick team, led by Tom Brady, with Pro Bowlers on both sides of the ball, can not only lose a home playoff game, but to a team they'd played AND BEATEN earlier in the season.
The bright side is that there is still potential in Foxborough. And that's really what gets me so frustrated about this team, this season. This isn't a bad team. On paper. They didn't play above their heads this year. Instead, they played at their skill level and with no passion. This is a talented bunch of players, who didn't execute ON THE FIELD as they should have.
A Super Bowl Championship may have been a bit much to ask for. In 2006, and 2007, they may have choked, but they choked and fought at the same time. Those were close, well fought games they lost. Same goes for 2005 in Denver. And the 11-5 squad last year with the 9-7 team in '02, those teams played with balls.
It should be an interesting off-season in Foxborough.
"And the raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted - nevermore!"